The GLG CEO Survey 2021: A Positive Outlook for the Year

The GLG CEO Survey 2021: A Positive Outlook for the Year

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UPDATE: Access the GLG New CEO Survey 2022 Here

The year 2020 was unlike any other in living memory. The global pandemic hit every nation, closing business as usual for many industries, causing others to rapidly pivot from in-person to digital, and forcing millions of people into work-from-home situations, much of which is likely to persist well into 2021.


For many companies, COVID did deep damage to revenue, forcing executives to adopt new strategies to weather the ongoing storm. To get a high-level view into what the post-COVID landscape looks like and what executives plan for 2021, GLG conducted a survey of 100 North American and 100 global CEOs and top executives in November 2020.

The GLG CEO Survey: 2021 found that despite the challenges of 2020, most CEOs looked to 2021 with a degree of optimism, expecting revenue to return later in the year. The survey includes both quantitative data and comments from respondents, offering insight into the perspectives of CEOs on the pandemic’s impact, shifting strategies and priorities, and outlook for the coming year.

COVID-19 Impact

The pandemic negatively impacted the revenue of most of our respondents, with 45% saying that revenue “Declined” in 2020. Not all was lost, however, with 25% of respondents saying their revenue “Stayed Flat” and an encouraging 30% saying that revenue “Increased.”

Company Growth Outlook for 2021

Only a fraction (4%) of all the CEOs we surveyed said they were “Not at All Confident” that their revenue would grow in the next 12 months. In fact, significantly more than half (65%) said they were “Confident” or “Very Confident” about their growth potential. North American confidence in revenue growth in next 12 months is significantly below the rest of world, with 56% of North American respondents versus 74% of the rest of the world saying that they are “Confident” or “Very Confident’ when it comes to growth.


But traveling the road to growth isn’t effortless. To achieve real growth, standard operating procedure must shift. According to those we surveyed, changes in operational management, financials, and online marketing will have to be implemented.

The GLG CEO Survey: 2021

The GLG CEO Survey demonstrates how the challenges of 2020 impacted global businesses of all sizes, but also reveals an inherent confidence that CEOs have in their companies to bounce back in the new year. Among other datapoints, the report includes CEO sentiment around the election of Joe Biden, investment forecasts, the challenges ahead, and how leadership styles will likely shift in order to be successful.